The third tri-annual India-Africa Summit was held at New Delhi. This is the biggest foreign policy event hosted by India in more than three decades. The theme of the conference was ‘Partners in Progress: towards a dynamic and transformative development agenda.’
This summit was an awakening after China’s aggressive moves in the continent to capitalise its energy and mineral needs. The Forum on China–Africa Cooperation was started in 2000. Since then there has been no looking back in the trade growth. China’s trade with African states has grown about ten times in the last decade, with the total value likely to hit $300 billion in 2015.
At this juncture, the India-Africa Forum Summit marks an important milestone not only in boosting trade but also to push for reforms in the United Nations and its Security Council to treat the developing countries in an equal manner.
Promising outlook for trade and investments...
To develop trade relations, India’s summit with the heads of states seems promising. There is an evident increase in India- Africa trade and this summit is expected to boost it. In the past five years, it has grown six’fold to nearly $70 billion and India is the fourth largest trading partner. India’s private sector has made a considerable investment in sectors like agribusiness, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, information and technology and communications. Africa is also witnessing growth and its outward investment touched $11 million more than two-fifths since 2011-12.
Both developing economies have similar stories of growth and liberalisation. With a much more balanced Africa trying to curtail its inflation, India has extended several measures in the form of capacity building, sharing technology and know-how, increasing the line of credit and sectoral support. Of India’s global total foreign assistance of $11.63 billion, $ 6.74 billion lines of credit have been given to Africa alone. India has launched a telemedicine initiative and has been an important trade partner in pharmaceuticals. She has shared her experience in several sectors and even transported skilled manpower to train African counterparts.
Help to build capacity...
Prime Minister Modi added that India was creating 100 capacity-building institutions and developing infrastructure, public transportation, clean energy, irrigation, agriculture and manufacturing capacity across Africa. The growing nation with its abundant resources and a global outlook is bound to be a major game changer in the world economy.
Another agenda of the meet was to garner Africa’s support to get a permanent seat in UN Security Council (UNSC). At his address in the event, Prime Minister Modi stressed “these institutions have served us well, but unless they adjust to the changing world, they risk becoming irrelevant.” He pointed to the world becoming a free nation with awakened aspirations. He pushed for reform in the UNSC for it to become the United Equal Nations with two seats for African countries in the reformed Security Council and one for India.
Modi has been travelling around the world and interacting with global leaders to bring in a change of India’s image abroad. This meet was an add on to ascertaining India’s commitment in world problems and its demanded share in UN.